Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fighting a cold: "Oh my sinus!" ~ Kaa the snake

Staying strong and healthy is the most important part of being an athlete. Being able to maintain training over winter can be tough, a lot stands in your way – freezing temperatures, tough weather conditions, ice, salty roads, last minute family and neighbour visits where you have to sit at the table listening to the “grown-ups” chat and eat mince pies and perhaps the most annoying - THE COMMON COLD.

                    The Jungle Book - this is my favourite part of the whole film!

                                          Check out 00:01:17 - 00:01:20

This Christmas I was plagued with it for two weeks and so did a lot of research into how to deal with it. As you probably know, there is no complete cure for it. Once it sets in you just have to deal with it (unless its related to a chest infection = go to a doctor and get antibiotics ASAP!).

Here are some detailed personal experiences and tips to preventing and fighting a cold:

One of the first signs of a cold is that horrible feeling when you wake up – eyes watery, nose blocked and a sore lumpy feeling in the back of your throat especially when you swallow. At the start of the infection these symptoms tend to fade away once your up and about and you forget about them...but this just gives the cold more time to attack!

You should gargle salty water immediately. Put the kettle on, pour a mug of boiled water, top up with cold water so you don't burn your mouth and add a good tablespoon of salt and stir. Take a mouthful of the potion and without actually swallowing it (if this happens don't panic but your immediate reflex will probably be to throw up – it is not ideal) gargle in the back of your throat. Tap your adams apple gently while gargling, this allows some of the water to trickle down over your tonsils disinfecting them and killing the bacteria! Repeat this for maybe three to five gargles and then repeat this whole process twice a day until your better.

Sleep!!! Sleep and rest is essential without a cold, so with one its really important! Ensure your getting at least 8 hours comfortable sleep. It can be hard when your battling a blocked nose, every time you lie down you feel like you can't breathe! Try propping your head up on more pillows and use a vapour chest rub on your nose and bed sheets. It is hard to know when to stop is also extremely frustrating but if you do not listen to your body and rest the cold becomes more and more difficult to get rid of and the quality of your training will dramatically decrease making it pointless anyway!

Menthol & Boots Vapour Chest Rub - very helpful
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and eat plenty of nutritional food – especially green vegetables like brocolli that are high in vitamins. Honey is a contains "defensin-1" a natural antibiotic and it tastes good if you put a teaspoon into a herbal tea! You need to fuel your body so it has plenty of energy to go about its daily effort in keeping you alive AND fight off the attacking cold virus.

Stay at a good temperature, your body has to work hard to cool you down when you over heat and to warm you up when your cold. Don't let it waste energy in doing this – stay comfortable!

Try not to stress about it, this will make you more run down...stay positive - do some relaxing things like watch the jungle book (such a good film) or read a book!

Menthol can be bought from chemists. It is used in aromatherapy but if you add a very small amount to a basin of boiling water and hold your head over it underneath a towel it clears your sinuses very effectively. Do not use too much or it feels like someone has set a bomb off in your nose!!!

Inhaling menthol to unblock nose
All of the above will help, it is common sense really, you and your immune system are a team – you need to give it the right treatment and resources so it can have the best chance at effectively putting an end to the cold virus! 

GOOD LUCK & get well soon!

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